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Parking problem downtown - too much of it? Not enough?


GRDadof3

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I was in town this past weekend.   Saturday morning about 10:30 am, drove right into the Pearl/Ionia ramp, 3rd deck.  By the time we left downtown it was crazy, but it was still easy in easy out.  Paid $7 bucks, which was cheaper than parking across at St Mark's.  Probably helped that nothing was going on at Kendal this year, which was a surprise. 

Edited by mpchicago
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6 minutes ago, mpchicago said:

I was in town this past weekend.   Saturday morning about 10:30 am, drove right into the Pearl/Ionia ramp, 3rd deck.  By the time we left downtown it crazy, but it was still easy in easy out.  Paid $7 bucks, which was cheaper than parking across at St Mark's.  Probably helped that nothing was going on at Kendal this year, which was a surprise. 

Kendall is not a venue for ArtPrize this year? That's a surprise, they won outstanding venue last year from the juried awards. Hmmmm. 

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31 minutes ago, mpchicago said:

They had one sculpture outside and a parklet.   Went inside and the security guy said  - sorry no AP this year!    And UICA, was dark too!

Wow! Well I know several years ago they were complaining about how expensive it was to be a host venue and they didn't see any increase in memberships during AP (UICA that is). Plus most of the artists that display at those venues can't really "sell" their art. 

Wonder if that's part of the reason for going every other year.

Strangely I just saw an email in my inbox from UICA PR dept talking about their involvement in AP this year and how they're focused on "getting out in the neighborhoods" with their mural projects. I like murals.

Probably in the wrong thread. Back to parking...

 

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4 hours ago, thebeerqueer said:

For the last nine years, I've had friends visit from Detroit for ArtPrize (on the second weekend), they're always shocked by the amount of free and cheap parking downtown. We almost always park in the Government Center ramp and it's $9 all day in a great location. I realize this is only on one weekend and doesn't include the obvious weekday, business hours, parking crunch but there's plenty of parking during ArtPrize.

I agree I don't think I've ever had problems finding a parking spot during ArtPrize. I usually don't go during the busy times though but with 30,000 visitor parking spots no one should have an issue. :)

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26 minutes ago, joeDowntown said:

And the GRAM is only on the first floor. If anyone knows of a good venue that is a “must see”, let me know. So far, woof!

I typically like what the jury likes. So far, Devos Place surprisingly has quite a few short-listed. Site:Lab I always put on my list. Anyone been to the Nomad Gallery in the Morton? 

 

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  • 2 months later...

I have heard a lot.of concern from business in the Monroe north neighborhood. The taking away of the parking lot, for movies in the park, and all the road closures due to construction has really hurt that area. The article states they are looking at encouraging people to park in ramps rather than meters for long term parking, but to my knowledge there is no ramp close by to that area. 

I am all for acting like GR is a big city when it comes to parking, but big cities also have a much better public transit system.

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The biggest argument I’ve beem encountering is ‘the city is in a desperate grab for cash’. When the reality of it all is, the city doesn’t make a dime off of meter fees, it goes to maitenence and the sustainability of the existing parking system wether it be meters, ramps, etc. I’ve had to explain this argument to numerous people throughout the city. As someone whom used to live on the east coast for six years, I honestly laugh when I hear about people complaining about something like this.

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7 hours ago, TheLonesomeHobo said:

The biggest argument I’ve beem encountering is ‘the city is in a desperate grab for cash’. When the reality of it all is, the city doesn’t make a dime off of meter fees, it goes to maitenence and the sustainability of the existing parking system wether it be meters, ramps, etc. I’ve had to explain this argument to numerous people throughout the city. As someone whom used to live on the east coast for six years, I honestly laugh when I hear about people complaining about something like this.

Interesting perspective. I really don't mind, because they've made payment easier and I've been pretty successful at finding spots. I like the pay by plate and pay by number systems. My only complaint it takes a bit to navigate the menus. Every second counts when you're freezing your face off. :)

Joe

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7 hours ago, TheLonesomeHobo said:

The biggest argument I’ve beem encountering is ‘the city is in a desperate grab for cash’. When the reality of it all is, the city doesn’t make a dime off of meter fees, it goes to maitenence and the sustainability of the existing parking system wether it be meters, ramps, etc. I’ve had to explain this argument to numerous people throughout the city. As someone whom used to live on the east coast for six years, I honestly laugh when I hear about people complaining about something like this.

I agree, it's not really about increasing income. The DGRI and Mobile GR people are working with parking consultants trying to get people to "mode shift" to alternatives. In this case, even in the article, they state that they're trying to get "visitors" to use the ramps more on weekends and not take up the on-street meters. Presumably to help retailers downtown. They're trying to increase "turnover" at the meter spots where people are squatting all weekend long at them.  And FINALLY Josh Naramore admits to the Press that monthly parking spaces are gone. 

The one issue with this is, if you live downtown, where else are your guests supposed to park? 

Here's what they are considering:

"Grand Rapids' Mobile GR and Parking Services Department is recommending that the city expand its hours of operation for enforcement of on-street, metered parking spots to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. 

and..."does recommend an increase in rates for monthly non-residential reserved parking by $50 per space per month. Those spots are being used by 110 customers, and on average only half of those spots are utilized. 

Additionally, staff recommends eliminating the VIP parking program, which is utilized by 382 customers. And it recommends expanding the $49-per-month night and weekend permit program, which lets cardholders access certain parking facilities from 4:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. during weekdays and anytime on weekends. "

 

The city better get moving on that Ionia/Fulton ramp... 

Coincidentally I had to meet with some clients who live at Carlton Place (Carlton and Fulton) and they recommended I park at the Family Fare because there's no guest parking. It was around 6:00 and I noticed a huge chunk of the Family Fare parking lot had people parking to go to that new Cuban restaurant. Wonder how long that will last? 

 

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9 hours ago, TheLonesomeHobo said:

The biggest argument I’ve beem encountering is ‘the city is in a desperate grab for cash’. When the reality of it all is, the city doesn’t make a dime off of meter fees, it goes to maitenence and the sustainability of the existing parking system wether it be meters, ramps, etc. I’ve had to explain this argument to numerous people throughout the city. As someone whom used to live on the east coast for six years, I honestly laugh when I hear about people complaining about something like this.

Meters? Ramps? Grand Rapids has neither. The "meters" are numbers that you plug into an app. The ramps (minus what...two? Three?) are all owned by one guy - not the city. 

Honestly...Grand Rapids is already on the sh** list of many in this area because of the parking issue. I get the feeling this move will only be the straw the broke the camel's back and send people to the burbs for their food and drinks on weekends. I'm sure businesses in the area are about as pleased with this idea as the people on social media.

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4 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

Interesting perspective. I really don't mind, because they've made payment easier and I've been pretty successful at finding spots. I like the pay by plate and pay by number systems. My only complaint it takes a bit to navigate the menus. Every second counts when you're freezing your face off. :)

Joe

I drove around a three block radius of Luna three times on Tuesday at around 6:15 and couldn't find a single meter spot in that radius. I wasn't about to pay for more parking that day on top of the event I paid to attend, so I just headed home. The event got my donation and didn't have to serve me food and drinks for it.

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2 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

I agree, it's not really about increasing income. The DGRI and Mobile GR people are working with parking consultants trying to get people to "mode shift" to alternatives. In this case, even in the article, they state that they're trying to get "visitors" to use the ramps more on weekends and not take up the on-street meters. Presumably to help retailers downtown. They're trying to increase "turnover" at the meter spots where people are squatting all weekend long at them.  And FINALLY Josh Naramore admits to the Press that monthly parking spaces are gone. 

The one issue with this is, if you live downtown, where else are your guests supposed to park? 

Here's what they are considering:

"Grand Rapids' Mobile GR and Parking Services Department is recommending that the city expand its hours of operation for enforcement of on-street, metered parking spots to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. 

and..."does recommend an increase in rates for monthly non-residential reserved parking by $50 per space per month. Those spots are being used by 110 customers, and on average only half of those spots are utilized. 

Additionally, staff recommends eliminating the VIP parking program, which is utilized by 382 customers. And it recommends expanding the $49-per-month night and weekend permit program, which lets cardholders access certain parking facilities from 4:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. during weekdays and anytime on weekends. "

 

The city better get moving on that Ionia/Fulton ramp... 

Coincidentally I had to meet with some clients who live at Carlton Place (Carlton and Fulton) and they recommended I park at the Family Fare because there's no guest parking. It was around 6:00 and I noticed a huge chunk of the Family Fare parking lot had people parking to go to that new Cuban restaurant. Wonder how long that will last? 

 

There's a few parking spots in back of the businesses for their guests. I was at the housewares store a few weekends ago and that's where I parked. Otherwise, it's the Family Fare lot. Maybe they reached an agreement?? 

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59 minutes ago, thebeerqueer said:

There's a few parking spots in back of the businesses for their guests. I was at the housewares store a few weekends ago and that's where I parked. Otherwise, it's the Family Fare lot. Maybe they reached an agreement?? 

Who knows, maybe.

In regard to meter rates on weekends and evenings, pretty much whenever we go downtown now it's for an event, or meeting friends downtown. In most cases if it involves drinking, we just uber or lyft. Otherwise we park in the ramp by Devos Hall/under city hall or the Monroe Center ramp. This change wouldn't really affect our behavior.  If we're JUST going out to dinner, we don't go downtown anymore really. Too many other locally owned places outside of downtown now. 

 

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5 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

I agree, it's not really about increasing income. The DGRI and Mobile GR people are working with parking consultants trying to get people to "mode shift" to alternatives. In this case, even in the article, they state that they're trying to get "visitors" to use the ramps more on weekends and not take up the on-street meters. Presumably to help retailers downtown. They're trying to increase "turnover" at the meter spots where people are squatting all weekend long at them.  And FINALLY Josh Naramore admits to the Press that monthly parking spaces are gone. 

The one issue with this is, if you live downtown, where else are your guests supposed to park? 

Here's what they are considering:

Reading more of this stuff from Naramore, it got me thinking (and researching).  I suspect Josh Naramore--or at least the department he leads--is increasingly detested among stakeholders in the downtown business community.  Unfortunately, this is perhaps justifiably so.  The department is led by an apparent ideologue who publicly trashes parking ramps and cars.

It's not exactly news that the city, with Naramore leading the way, seems to be doing all it can to drive out "mode shift" downtown office and retail users, despite already having alarming vacancy rates.  Instead of providing a message that downtown parking is easy, affordable, and accessible--which is necessary for the growth of any city in Grand Rapids' shoes--Naramore constantly shouts from the rooftops that parking is full, pricey, and only going to get worse.  I would be a  bit loathe to criticize a city employee who is just doing his or her job, but I'm not sure that is the case here.  I think Naramore sees his job as destroying that which he is in charge of running.  Is this really what the city hired this guy to do?  

Naramore's bio (see: https://danielrosecenter.org/people/josh-naramore/ and repeated elsewhere) gives away his agenda.  " This [Naramore's] role assists the City’s economic development and quality of life goals by increasing the number of people who take transit, walk, bike, or commute/travel in a way other than driving alone. " Is that actually his job description, or is that something he came up with?  Given this quote elsewhere, I rather suspect he came up with that description which is entirely dismissive of 95% of the workforce and their quality of life: "So, 10 percent of the city’s workforce should be doing that, something other than driving alone and parking in the facility, such as parking more remotely and taking transit in or biking or just taking transit."  Thus, the real question is whether the city assigned him this "mission" or whether it's something he is pushing himself.  Recall back a year when there was this stupid dispute about a symbolic vote whether the Commission ought to formally instruct "Mobile GR" to improve the parking scenario, and give the business community a ray of hope.  The rejoinder was that this was unnecessary, and that obviously they were doing this.  Yet, if they are, Naramore repeatedly seems to give short shrift to--and arguably openly dislikes--a mode of transit used by more than 95% of downtown users.   No surprise, then, that his "role" doesn't mention a word about increasing the efficient and capacity of--or even managing, for that matter--the City's parking system.

Don't believe me?  Look at the man's Twitter feed for evidence:  https://twitter.com/joshnaramore?lang=en.  The person supposedly managing our parking department has a Twitter feed which lauds buses and bikes, and casts doom, gloom, and aspersion on parking ramps and those who use them.  Why in the world would you hire someone to manage a business--particularly the rather cash-rich parking department--when he often derides vehicles and parking structures, and seeks ways to get people to stop using the stuff that makes the money?  It's like hiring Jeff Bezos to run a mom and pop bookstore.  You mean going there suddenly completely stinks and is far more hassle than it used to be?  Well, golly!  You mean parking suddenly stinks after the city hired a guy whose bio is all bikes, buses, and mode shifting and zippo about parking? Well, golly!  

The city ought to hire someone with actual expertise and experience in parking to the run the parking department, and put Naramore in charge of a tiny little department with 5% of the budget of the parking department, which roughly represents the fraction of people who give two rips about and support the nonsense he is constantly promoting.  

Yeah, yeah, I know.  As an urbanist a post like this is probably apostasy.  But not really.  I want a vibrant city full of buildings and shops, and to which people from the suburbs will travel.  I really don't care in the slightest how they get here, and it makes no sense to me to be so openly hostile to their chosen transport method.  Grand Rapids is not New York, it is not Chicago, and it is not even Portland.  It's a freaking snow-belt city where it takes 12 minutes to get downtown via highway.  Unless Naramore plans to blow up that highway, he's got a problem he will never, ever solve by trashing the parking system.  The man lives in a fantasy world with blinders on.  Again, just read the Twitter feed... 

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1 minute ago, Kinkema said:

Madison is pretty similar in size and climate. Parking there is much more limited, meters everywhere, much more expensive, and they charge on Saturdays(but not Sundays). People seem to use parking ramps more or walk further.

Honestly,  outside of monthly permit parking, GR parking is easy to find, easy to use, and cheap. I never pay for parking and usually walk no more than 4 or 5 blocks to where I'm going. If I were willing to pay, there's always a spot within a couple blocks. I really find it hard to sympathize with people who complain about parking in GR /:

Same

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48 minutes ago, Kinkema said:

Madison is pretty similar in size and climate. Parking there is much more limited, meters everywhere, much more expensive, and they charge on Saturdays(but not Sundays). People seem to use parking ramps more or walk further.

Honestly,  outside of monthly permit parking, GR parking is easy to find, easy to use, and cheap. I never pay for parking and usually walk no more than 4 or 5 blocks to where I'm going. If I were willing to pay, there's always a spot within a couple blocks. I really find it hard to sympathize with people who complain about parking in GR /:

Madison is more like Ann Arbor than GR. With the capitol and the university right downtown.

But you park and walk 4 or 5 city blocks? In GR? Can you give us an example? 

 

 

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